Are you following a vegan or plant-based diet? If you are, it is important to measure and improve your daily intake of iron.
Iron is a vital mineral for our body. It is the principal component of hemoglobin, a hemoprotein found in red blood cells, that allows oxygen to get to all your tissues and muscles. Iron deficiency can cause fatigue, weakness, anxiety, irritability, hair loss, anemia, and depression.
Iron is naturally found in animal protein, that’s why many vegans and vegetarians struggle to meet their daily iron needs. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find this mineral in vegetables, seeds, and grains.
While it requires more planning, we can get all the iron we need from plant-based options.
Improve iron absorption
First, we need to differentiate the two kinds of sources of this mineral: heme and non-heme. Heme is found in animal proteins like meat, poultry, and seafood. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens.
The issue with Non-heme iron is that it is harder for your body to absorb. This happens because of phytates and oxalates in plants, which can block some of their nutrients.
To improve the absorption of plant-based iron, we need to pair it with other components. For example, vitamin C and vitamin A have proven to be great companions for iron-rich veggies.
Furthermore, foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, melons, and strawberries. Good food sources of vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, squash, red peppers, cantaloupe, apricots, oranges, and peaches.
Other iron sources you can try
Fortified cereals, rice, wheat, and oats
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
Dried fruits like raisins and apricots
Beans like lentils and soybeans
Check out my Instagram for fun, easy cooking ideas you can make at home.
Go back to the homepage.